Thursday, June 24, 2010

Reader's Diary #623- Gilles Tibbo and illustrated by Bruno St-Aubin: Where's My Hockey Sweater?

With Gilles Tibbo and Bruno St-Aubin both hailing from Quebec, this finalizes my own personal Canadian Book Challenge. While the official rules of the 3rd Canadian Book Challenge merely state to read 13 Canadian books in the year, I personalized it for myself by aiming for at least one book from each province or territory. Quebec was my last to go.

Where's My Hockey Sweater? is the story of a Nicholas who has to find his hockey equipment before the first practice of the season. But there's a catch: his equipment is scattered all over the house and, well, it's not the most organized of households.

I can relate. Even though my son has the "one piece" hockey equipment (minus the skates, helmet, stick, gloves, mouth guard, neck guard, socks, jersey and pants) and even though we aim to keep it all in his hockey bag, we somehow manage to be pressed for time come hockey morning as we try to collect everything we need. Needless to say, I appreciate Tibbo's take on this topic. I'm glad someone sees the humour in it all.

I also appreciate St-Aubin's illustrations. As a child I loved pictures of junkyards and disarray. Like early versions of I Spy books, without the instructions, I loved searching to find treasures amongst the illustrator's imagination. Though Tibbo doesn't catalogue every item in Nicholas's room, St-Aubin has ad-libbed by adding boats, clothes hangers, comics, legos, a lobster, tennis balls, a comb, a pacifier, a submarine and more. Who doesn't enjoy virtual dumpster diving?

My sole problem with the book is with the publisher. Scholastic either thinks the Tibbo/St-Aubin combination is very similar to the Munsch/Martchenko duo or else has a pretty rigid system in which they put together a book. Production-wise, you'd hardly know the difference, right down to the side by side circles highlighting the author/illustrator portraits on the back. With no disrespect to Robert Munsch and Michael Martchenko, Tibbo and St-Aubin deserve better treatment than a template production. No kids are likely to pick up on such a thing, but this adult reader thinks it looks lazy on the part of Scholastic, especially for such a fine book.


Wanda said...

At first glance it does rather look like a Munsch/Martchenko book. Not exactly a selling point for me as my favourite Munsch are both illustrated by females and pre-Martchenko. Bet Scholastic hooks their target audience though when the kids spot this one in the book orders.

John Mutford said...

Wanda: I actually think I prefer Martchenko to Munsch.

Teddy Rose said...

This sounds like a fun book. I'm always on the lookout for Canadian children's books to help with the challenge. Thanks!